A teacher’s tale
When I embarked on my CELTA course there was no way I could imagine I would now be a CELTA Tutor and Assessor as well as a DELTA tutor and even a teacher development centre owner!
By Alexander Makarios,Teacher, Teacher Trainer, co-owner of ACE TEFL
As a young man, I wasn’t sure I wanted to work as a teacher. Teaching seemed particularly challenging, even daunting back then. Instead, I briefly worked as a translator of fantasy novels -naively believing that this was going to be easier- and had to find a McJob on the side to make a living; translation did not pay much, I quickly came to realise.
One day, a friend suggested I should give teaching a try. He said it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, he explained how rewarding it could be (albeit not financially), he even compared it to what I was doing at the time and in the end asked “how much worse can it be?” I started having second thoughts and reluctantly took his advice and started applying to language schools.
A few weeks later, one of these schools did get back to me and, after a nerve-wracking interview, I was offered a teaching job. By the way, that foreign language school located in Nikaia will always have a special place in my heart – so will the owners and the learners I got to teach there.
Ms. K.M. had given me my first opportunity to teach. I’m not going to dwell so much on all the blunders I made in my lessons – they were a lot; however, I did try hard not to let anyone down. I kept studying, asking for advice, experimenting…
When the academic year ended, I realised my teaching wasn't good enough and I had to do something to become a better teacher. I hated the fact that, in my students' eyes, my lessons would be considered just one more inescapable slot of absolute boredom in their heavy daily schedule. At the same time, I did not want to betray the trust the centre owner had shown me.
So, I applied for an intensive summer CELTA course. I learnt a lot, I worried a lot, I even panicked at some point. The course itself naturally had its ups and downs; but I still have very fond memories of some of my colleagues on that course! How they helped me during the stressful weeks, how much fun we had, how we learned from each other!
September came and I returned to the Nikaia school. I was feeling much more confident. I could finally see exactly what I had been doing wrong and was able to reflect on my own teaching, exchange ideas with colleagues in the teacher’s room, plan lessons of different kinds; I was able to use a number of different techniques to get the students interested, to cater to their individual preferences; most importantly, I was able to finally focus on the students themselves since the burden of not knowing the basics had stopped exclusively occupying my mind during the lessons.
As the school owner/director started noticing my improvement, she offered me more and more hours and I finally got to work for her school full time. In the years I worked there, I taught different levels and age groups, I kept learning from my students as well as from my colleagues and I developed as a teacher. I went on to teach in different contexts, gained a lot more valuable experience, and a few years later I did the DELTA and started working as a trainer - and that has been a completely new adventure, with its own challenges.
When I reminisce about my journey in ELT, however, I always think of my CELTA as the beginning of everything.
Could I have gained this invaluable knowledge and experience without having done the CELTA?
Would I have improved my job prospects without it?
Would I have met all these lovely colleagues who helped me on this journey?
The (obvious) negative answers to these questions might seem to be overly romantic and immaterial now. Yet, I wouldn’t be able to ask them if certain things hadn’t happened exactly the way they did. And the CELTA course was one of them.
It gave me the confidence I needed as a teacher to share ideas and experiment even if that meant occasionally failing to achieve my lesson aims; it gave me the ability to reflect on those failures, identify the problems, isolate them, and work on them to get better and better as a teacher - sometimes as an individual, too. Last but not least, it opened up a whole new world of opportunities in the world of English language teaching; a world I couldn't have imagined actually existed.
Adult Learning: Pedagogy and andragogy
Learning can be both an emotional and intellectual process. Teaching–learning process lasts the entire life span of each individual. Adult learning allows an adult to acquire, renew, upgrade, or complete knowledge, skill, and attitude for functioning effectively in a constantly changing working environment.
“Teachers can never truly teach, unless they are still learning themselves.”
Adult education is the intentional systematic process of teaching and learning by which the adult acquires new values, attitude, knowledge, skill, and discipline. “Pedagogy” and “andragogy” both derive from Greek. Andragogy means the method and practice of teaching adult learners, their motivation and disposition to learning. There are differences in the teaching–learning process in children and adults.
Adult learners are autonomous, self‑directed, and always expect respect and equal status. The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones. Adults focus mainly on immediate implementation of knowledge and are reluctant to learn new things. It is wrong to presume that all the information transmitted to the students are always learnt and since that does not happen, a lot more information needs to be transmitted so that something will be learnt. Adults have a deep need to be self‑directed; the teacher therefore engages in inquiry with the students to awaken interest rather than pretending to be the oracle of knowledge.
PRINCIPLES OF ADULT LEARNING
Learning is better with subject matters of immediate relevance. If it is for a long‑term goal, students should be properly motivated.
Keep it interesting
Complex matter should be made simple by using suitable examples, photos, images, videos and by making it learner centered.
There should be active involvement of the learner; he/she should be active contributor to the educational process. It can be done by small group discussion or by interactivity in larger groups. Encourage participants to be resources to you and to each other.
Establish a climate which is conducive to feedback. Ask questions and discuss responses. Tuition should be designed in such a way that it covers approximately one‑third part to presentation and two‑third part to application and feedback.
Rebound effect of evaluation
Students usually learn for the sake of examinations. Therefore, regular tests or objective‑structured questions and quizzes can be used for better learning.
Learning is composed of multiple sensory and intellectual inputs such as sound, sight, and smell. Some individuals learn better orally, some visually, some kinesthetically, and some by combinations. Learning begins with a new experience which may be by seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, or feeling. The more effective the learning experience is, the better the learning.
The stimulation of sensory receptors will influence learning. Based on this, different types of learners have been identified such as:
(1) visual learners: they prefer print material, learn best by reading or responding to visual cues such as whiteboard/overhead transparencies,
(2) auditory learners: they prefer listening; lecturing works best for them,
(3) tactile learners: they like to manipulate objects; hands‑on methods are most appropriate for them, and
(4) kinesthetic learners: they like to learn through experiential activities; they prefer simulations, exploratory activities, and problem‑solving. Retention improves as students see the results of their actions. Experiential learning gives time to facilitate critical thinking, diagnostic reasoning, and problem‑solving.
Studies show that varying study methods and materials will improve retention and recall of information and enhance learning experience. The “learning pyramid,” sometimes referred to as the “cone of learning” suggests that most students only remember about 10% of what they read from textbooks but retain nearly 90% of what they learn through teaching others. The learning pyramid model suggests that some methods of study are more effective than others and that varying study methods will lead to deeper learning and long‑term retention. People generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see, 70% of what they say, and 90% of what they say as they do a thing. Hence, there is no doubt that technical devices have greater impact and dynamic informative system. Hear it, see it, say it, do it, and teach others to improve retention.
COMPONENTS OF LEARNING
Important components of learning are motivation, reinforcements, retention, and transference.
Good eye contact, smiles, and active listening skills such as nodding always help to motivate students. In addition, certification by reputed or recognized authority and promotion or admission to higher studies will motivate adult learners. It’s like saying “You can lead the horse to water but you cannot make him drink”. A good motivator can produce thirst in learners.
The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher illustrates while the exceptional teacher inspires.
The greater the number of inputs attached to a particular idea, the greater the retention of the information. Factors which affect retention are active involvement of learners and degree of initial learning. More easily if learners can relate it to their past experiences, they become sequential learners. As per saying “You cannot pour fresh tea in a cup full of stale tea” the application of knowledge depends on factors such as association with known information, its similarity, and degree of original learning.
Positive reinforcement is done by encouraging correct mode of behavior and performance. It can be given in the form of effective feedback by peers and the teacher. In case of negative reinforcement, we have to be careful; it should be restricted to formative assessment results only.
Ability to use information, its implementation, and application of knowledge is transference. Hence, first remember, then understand, and at the end, apply the learnt knowledge.
Good teaching–learning practices should be followed whether teaching is conducted in the classroom or online. It requires time: time to instruct, observe, and assess the students and also time for self‑reflection and time for our own professional development. The purpose of teaching is not a mere passing on information but developing lifelong learning habits and making it an enjoyable process. Encourage participants to be resources to each other. Allow debate and questioning. Relate learning to participant’s goal with active involvement and you will reap the seeds of success.
Knowledge-Based Leadership in Language Education
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I have a new morning routine: cycling around the hill in my neighborhood, listening to podcasts. It makes me forget about the struggle of cycling and it gives me fantastic ideas! Only problem? I can’t take notes so I might forget some of the wonderful things I learn or some of the things I seriously disagree with (which is again a learning process).
By Maria Davou, FLS owner, Teacher Trainer, Researcher
So this morning I was listening to a Brene Brown podcast that came highly recommended by my friend Dafne (whose recommendations have literally saved my life) and I started thinking again about the situation in the field of (Foreign) Language Education. When I could still travel around the world for talks and seminars (we’ve now become mental travelers and zoom residents), there was one pressing question I’d get from most educators - and it’s cross-cultural, cross-national, cross-everything: what about the parents?
See, language educators in their great majority mostly agree on the basics of language teaching. We know what is right and wrong, we know what we should focus on, we know what works. We know all this because we studied it, we analyzed it, we investigated it. But is this knowledge transferred to our actual practices? The answer I’m afraid, is a big ‘no’. And if you ask teachers ‘why’, 9 out of 10 will tell you ‘because the parents object to it’.
So today, I will talk about 3 aspects of the problem and I will offer a tried-and-worked solution.
The parent: who is this scary ‘monster’ that dictates our teaching practices, that cannot be convinced by research findings and scientific knowledge, that does not respect our own expertise, based on years of education and professional development? The answer is very simple: this ‘monster’ is us. Not only because many of us are actually parents but because we use the label ‘parents’ to mask our own fears of doing things differently. Instead, we perpetuate the ‘teach-the-way-you-were-taught’ model, putting aside what we know. Let’s make the parent happy means let’s take the road taken because we are afraid. It’s not the parent, it’s the parent inside your head.
The manager: let’s call them managers. Or leaders. Or just bosses- no, these terms do not necessarily overlap. The thing is teachers might be insecure to practice what they know is right because they might simply be afraid of losing their jobs. And this fear is well-founded. If the manager/ leader/ boss puts forward ‘the-customer-is-always-right’ approach, then the teacher will follow. What does this mean? It means that I will give X parent a Grammar-Translation lesson and Y parent a CLIL lesson and XYZ parent an exam-prep lesson. Just a question: is the parent in the classroom? By focusing on the parents’ needs and wants, we forget who the actual focus is: the learner and their hunger to learn! Not only that: by focusing on the parent, we forget about our expertise. Remember when you learned at university that “children learn best by playing, singing, and using language in real situations and for fun, NOT by explanation” (Dendrinos, Teaching Grammar to Young Learners)? Well, then why do you choose this or that coursebook with the detailed grammar explanations and why do you design this or that progress test, asking your young learners to know the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous? Can the teacher act on their own and teach opting for the informed way? Without the manager’s support, not really. Simply put, managers need to set a knowledge-based framework and support teachers in their efforts to stick to it.
The teacher: the hard-working, qualified, constantly-learning teacher is not the one I’m talking about here. Not that rarely, I’ve seen things turned over: the manager trying to implement an open, knowledge-based approach and the teacher resisting. Of course, the teacher will say ‘parents won’t like that’ but we covered that in point #1. The teacher who resists is not only the insecure teacher. Very often it’s the bored teacher. Sad, sad, sad! But true! It’s the teacher who strictly wants the overprinted answers in their teacher’s book, all resources readily available, the never ending story of 101 practice tests, no project-work, no ‘outside the 4 walls’ activities, no storytelling, just ‘open the Companion and learn 20 words, study the rules from your Grammar book, ‘do the test’, ‘get your marks’, on your marks, ready-set-go’! Yes, this teacher resists because this teacher wants to sit in and sink in this comfort zone armchair of control.
A way out?
Yes! There’s always a way-out! I’m one of these ‘somewhere-over-the-rainbow’ people, so as a born and raised optimist, I believe there’s a solution. I will call this solution Knowledge-Based-Leadership. What does this mean? The leader of any educational operation should be a very qualified educator. At the same time, the leader who knows their research, theory, paradigm shifts, who keeps learning, searching and experimenting should create a knowledge-based framework for their team. And most importantly, there needs to be a lot of support for their teachers in two areas. Teachers should feel that they are part of a learning culture, where knowledge is appreciated, rewarded and promoted. They also need to feel that this knowledge is communicated to stakeholders (parents before anyone else) in simple terms.
Knowledge-Based-Leadership means that the leader knows the ‘why’, explores ‘why’ and sets out the framework for the ‘how’. Then the teachers implement the ‘how’ in a confident way because they know they know and because they know this knowledge is a power. In a Knowledge-Based-Leadership framework, the leader empowers the teachers and no one is afraid of the ‘parent-monster’ because informed decisions are made based on…Knowledge!
But don’t get me wrong: knowledge is not a static thing. Above all, it means the courage to admit ignorance, to keep learning and to change accordingly.
Lifelong Learning and Educators: Do We Really Need to Pursue Further Studies?
‘Accomplished’ is a word used most often than not to describe fulfillment or the realization of one’s goals. Although the maximum potential reached in any endeavor is clearly of a subjective perspective, the demands of both the current and emerging job markets have become quite challenging, thus rendering further education an essential element to keeping abreast not only in the workplace but in an ever-evolving society. ‘Lifelong Learning’ as it is now widely known, has become a staple in further advancing our own education as well as establishing an even stronger presence in class. Perhaps the most crucial question an educator might ask himself is, “Do I really need to further my studies? I already have a job!”
By Katherine Reilly, Author, Teacher Trainer
It is a fact that many educators might acknowledge the idea of furthering their studies, not only a waste of time, but an insult to their achievements up to that point. However, the truth will most certainly surprise you, as it has become not only an option, but an obligation to adopt the role of student once more.
Expanding Your Network
What are the latest trends and developments in ELT? Any new techniques which could add a new flavour to your lesson? Taking part in seminars and conferences, subscribing to ELT blogs and magazines, will acquaint you with other professionals in your field. This will in turn lead to the exchange and integration of fresh ideas, while broadening your mindset to new perspectives. The global ELT community is a particularly large one and is continuously expanding. Make the best of the network and become an active part of it.
Sustainability is an element intricately intertwined with adaptability. Our worth as professionals is not only defined by our achievements proudly displayed on the walls over our desks, but also by our current endeavors in expanding our knowledge and skills according to the current demands of the market. ELT goes hand to hand with unremitting dedication to broadening our horizons and in turn, securing a marketable image in an extremely competitive workplace. Just remember that knowledge and education do not always translate into certificates and degrees. Implementing said knowledge in class is the ultimate testament of our efforts to evolve and secure a position in the market.
How dedicated are you to your profession? What motivates you upon entering the classroom? Self-improvement is an incentive every educator must adopt with the ultimate goal of enhancing our skills, thus offering the best to our students. Hours upon hours of attending classes, expanding your knowledge and incorporating new educational techniques will eventually bear fruit when put into practice. The feeling of satisfaction upon delivering an improved and refreshing lesson will without a doubt boost your morale and will instill the desire to further dedicate your efforts to what defines you as a professional educator.
Developing Critical Thought
It is an unfortunate fact that in today’s global world, many learners are passive recipients of knowledge, unable to distinguish fact from opinion. The overflow of information which they are constantly exposed to has to a specific degree hindered their capacity for sound judgment, designating the need for critical stimulation an imperative one. Are we as educators equipped with the suitable tools to guide them through the learning process, that will one day make them both active and thinking members of society? It is every educator’s responsibility to inspire his students in cultivating their individual thinking; a responsibility which in no case can be fulfilled if the educator himself is limited to a specific range of thought, lacking any desire for spiritual growth or achievements. Lifelong learning does not only expand your general worldview; it provides a unique frame of mind when observing, assessing and reacting to challenges.
Being A Role Model
Our actions in many ways influence our immediate social circle. Be it colleagues or students, our dedication to learning will not only prove to be an inspiration, but also an incentive for others to follow suite. Balancing a professional and a personal life while at the same time devoting time to our personal evolution, is a feat that inspires admiration and respect. Renowned scholars, contemporary ones and of ages past, have in many instances declared that we are always learning. Those who proclaim otherwise are unfortunately blind to the fact that the accumulation of knowledge is an infinite process, one which we should wholeheartedly embrace and encourage others to pursue as well.
If for whatever reason you haven’t been convinced yet, just remember that personal evolution is the catalyst to overcoming all challenges in life. As individuals we must find the strength within ourselves to advance, prevail and most importantly, live up to the standards we are capable of reaching throughout our lives.
- Professional Development
Teacher Development: Educational Trend or Necessity?
Teacher educators must now, more than ever, direct learning beyond mastery of core subjects to improve students’ 21st-century skills and make education more responsive to the challenges of a knowledge-based society. This is an exciting challenge for those who are minded to be involved in a lifelong learning process attending various courses, professional learning communities, teacher development seminars, and published materials supporting it. The starting point for Teacher Development (TD) is the participants themselves, and therefore it is essential that they understand the nature of this development. Does TD relate to professional, personal or social development and how? Does professional development mean teacher training? This article attempts to clarify the sense of teacher development by describing what professional, personal and social development mean and how they are related.
By Zoi Theodoropoulou
What is Teacher Professional Development?
Teachers’ professional growth, also known as professional learning, is the process of developing teachers’ expertise that results in changes in their teaching practices which enhance students’ attitudes, motivation, and learning outcomes. Evans (2010) defines “changes in teachers’ practices” as changes in awareness, understanding, skills, behaviour, attitudes, beliefs, and convictions. The goal is for teachers to effectively use their newly learned skills and knowledge to affect improvement in their own classrooms. Continuous critical reflection, evaluation and analysis of teachers’ teaching practices are considered central components of their professional development. This reflective approach is critical and involves recalling, considering, evaluating past experiences and devoting time to learn, unlearn, and relearn teaching practices (Nunez et al., 2006). But, what does it mean to develop professionally? According to Darling-Hammond and Bransford (2007), it means continuous and active engagement in processes that help teachers develop adaptive expertise, i.e. the ability to apply meaningfully acquired knowledge and skills flexibly and creatively in different situations. Besides, teachers are expected to be experts in various roles, including lesson planning, communication, management and assessment, while also being adaptable to students’ learning styles, needs, and interests.
Does professional development mean teacher training?
Teacher training and professional development are not synonymous. Teacher training refers to the work that is usually undertaken at the start of a teacher’s career to prepare them to teach. Widdowson (1984) says that it aims to show teachers “how” to develop particular teaching practices converging and relying on existing techniques. Professional development, on the other hand, includes training but also encourages divergence and a willingness to depart from the bounds of prescribed practice. The term “development” is used here to describe a process of teachers’ continuous intellectual, experiential, and attitude growth (Lange, 1990). So, effective professional development should encourage teachers to understand the rationale behind any pedagogical decision made and experiment with new ideas or tools in their teaching contexts and reflect on how these impact their students’ learning. Constructive feedback and valuable insights through dialogue and post-observation supervision focused on classroom practices, collaborative learning, self-monitoring through self-observation (via video recording, journals, or portfolios), and teacher-led activities that support teachers' autonomy, as well as reading books and journal articles, taking online classes, and attending professional development conferences and learning communities as well as performing action research are examples of such tools.
What is Teacher Personal Development?
Personal development or self-development is vital for teacher development. But what do we mean by personal development? According to Richards and Farrell (2005), it refers to long-term personal growth that helps teachers identify and make sense of their teaching practices and of themselves as individuals. In this ongoing process, they can develop the necessary life skills to help them grow both inside and outside of the classroom. Several life skills assist teachers in coping with the challenges of everyday living, such as having good intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, confidence, organisational skills, teamwork, building rapport with students, emotional resilience, conflict resolution. Socio-emotional growth can be reflected in teachers’ attitudes and interactions with their students. Hence, teachers’ personal development must be targeted in teacher education programmes since developing the ‘teacher self’ is crucial to enhancing quality education.
What is Teacher Social Development?
In today’s education, it is considered necessary to develop students social, sociolinguistic as well as strategic competencies such as adjusting spoken language appropriately to a situation, turn-taking, active listening and understanding, respecting, having empathy, communicating one’s message effectively, managing impulses and behaving properly, as well as resolving conflicts (Huitt and Dawson, 2011). But, what about teachers? Do they possess the requisite knowledge, social skills, and attitudes to relate to others effectively and contribute positively to their community? Social development is a vital part of teacher development. After all, interpersonal relationships are at the heart of teaching. So, for a successful career and well-being, teachers must be able to communicate efficiently with students, colleagues, other staff members, and parents and maintain healthy working relationships.
In view of the above, personal, professional, and social development are the foundations of Teacher Development and should be the goal of every TD programme. This is because it is a never-ending learning process in which teachers should be treated as individuals first and foremost. It’s important to remember that updating, innovating, and searching are the three pillars of teacher development, whether formal or informal (Cardenas et al., 2010). Reading books and academic journals and engaging in online webinars, interactive workshops, and professional learning communities have all aided my professional, personal, and social development as an English as a Foreign Language teacher during this challenging year. I’ve gained confidence and successfully dealt with my negative emotions, and helped students who have been affected by the pandemic. So, how do you feel about it? What are your thoughts on Teacher Development?
- Cardenas, M. L., Gonzalez, A., & Alvarez, J. A. (2010). In Service English Teachers' Professional Development: Some conceptual considerations for Colombia. Folios, (31), 49-68.
- Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.). (2007). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. John Wiley & Sons.
- Evans, L. (2010, May). Leadership for faculty development: confronting the complexity of professional development. In Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Denver, Colorado, May 3rd (pp. 1-19).
- Huitt, W., & Dawson, C. (2011). Social development: Why it is important and how to impact it. Educational Psychology Interactive, 20(1), 80-100.
- Lange, D. L. (1990). A blueprint for a teacher development program. Second language teacher education, 245-268.
- Nunez, A., Ramos Holguin, B., & Tellez, M. F. (2006). Reflection in the educational context: Towards decision making in the classroom. Apuntes Contables, (11), 111-115.
- Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Widdowson, H. G. (1984). The incentive value of theory in teacher education1. ELT journal, 38(2), 86-90.
Zoi Theodoropoulou is a highly motivated English Language and Literature graduate and certified EFL teacher with a First-Class Honours degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and working experience in the UK, Spain, and Greece. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education in TEFL at the Hellenic Open University.
The Influence of Teaching the Teachers
Supposing you hold the currently released ELT News issue, the present feature section must be of fervent interest to the readership.
Reasons for Prioritizing Lifelong Education and Skills Development
Through educating oneself, the ESL/EFL teacher accomplishes an influential multi- faceted effect:
- They essentially nurture their professional, educational development of their existent formal background education. The driving mentality of pursuing development in terms of studies and/ or profession (interfacing factors) is to refresh, revise and be able to employ formerly acquired knowledge. Teachers aspire to rethink, reframe their learning and teaching methodology and update their approaches.
- Through constantly bringing themselves to the L2 Learner’s position- literally but mainly symbolically-they augment their real-classroom perception and responsiveness, which are deemed integral to the overall teacher’s performance.
- In other terms, life-long learning conduces to the teacher’s moral and mental development.
- The law of eternal change permeates education and its entire means (human and material) in a progressive and imperceptible way.
- Life-long learning could be considered as a collective contribution, as further progress influences both the student body and the teaching community as a whole.
Therefore, it is not a personal endeavor that would only benefit the trainee.
By Marina Siskos
If we deliberate a school of the 1920s, we are decisively aware that it is conspicuously different from an equivalent institution of our age: though, it might be tough to define the individual ways and areas that constitute this difference.
The inherent repetitiveness of teaching imperils of its quality:
“Automation bias” is a definition referring to the kind of faults that our minds commit as a consequence of the automated completion of (in the specific case) the ESL/EFL duties.
A very oxymorous notion, if one takes under consideration the sensitively person-centered approach every aspect of teaching entails.
“Automation bias”, a relatively fresh concept, describes a particular class of errors that a professional might perpetrate in a highly automated environment.
ESL/EFL teachers’ schedule includes more than switching classrooms and reproducing the distributed lesson plan, though.
For the sake of precision, teaching in general, translates into
- possessing and exercising the well-versed skills of grading papers and language comprehension and production- a skill demanding special training,
- Decision-making,normally under pressure is a skill to thrive via practice and training,
- Business management,for a respected population of freelance ESL/EFL teachers,
- Time and resources management, arranging and allocating ΜΑmaterials and tasks.
To name some more,
- Administrative workis also required under the teaching practice,
- Fundamentals of student and parent psychology,
- Conflict resolution, the ability to address clashing factors in the workplace and within the learning community.
The above enumerated acquired skills are anticipated to be implemented without inflicting commotion, but they are to be effectuated discreetly and effortlessly.
Instructors of the English language in Greece come from heterogeneous educational backgrounds, so it is almost a rarity to find common points of reference, unless they are committed to professional development regiment.
ESL/EFL teachers constitute a very disparate field. Instructors of the English language in Greece come from heterogeneous educational backgrounds, so it is almost a rarity to find common points of reference, unless they are committed to a professional development regiment. Teaching and its consequential duties are dynamic in their nature. As society changes, the ecology of education is met with different needs and expectations.
Life-long learning and professional development means and activities
There exists a satisfactory range of means and methods for teachers’ life-long learning and development.
Books: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson, etc have released some of the most indispensable books on the subjects of second language acquisition workings, teaching principles and methodologies which are perpetually studied and referenced.
Providentially, one can find a variety of e-books, e-texts, insightful journals, scrutinizing the respective sites of the ESL/EFL established publishing houses.
The ELT News magazine, as the unique print medium, addresses the current affairs of the ESL/EFL and it has been hosting prescient content, managing to formulate a common frame of reference for the ESL/EFL professionals for the last 30 years.
Content and activities of value have managed to upgrade the domain of teaching English in Greece.
Online print media:
The propagation of the online print media has brought several worthy media within everyone’s reach.
The EFL magazine, https://www.efl.magazine.com, provides an interesting range of content and perspectives, bringing together voices of ESL/EFL from around the globe.
The Baan Dek, https://baandek.org/, is an online medium that discusses methods, approaches and principles of the Montessori approach and recommendations of incorporating them into the classroom.
It mainly reaches out to the Montessori advocates, though not exclusively.
The ADDitude magazine, https://www.additude.com/ majorly of clinical educative content, apart from hosting in-depth articles and reviews that are composed by health professional and clinical educators, psychologists and physicians, it also offers an insightful range of free webinars which can be attended upon demand, suiting anyone’s availability.
Finally, it contributes valuable resources for further study and examination.
Educative Seminars, Thematic Conferences:
Educative, advisory, awareness-raising events are frequently organized and upheld by University Faculties, in particular by the Department of English Language and Literature of the Aristotle University (https://www.auth.gr/) and the respective department of the National and Kapodistrian University (https://en.uoa.gr/) and the department of Translation and Interpreting of the Ionian University (https://ionio.gr/en/) .
The ELT News magazine organizes and carries out seminars and events, touching upon teaching and teacher-related issues, and TESOL
IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language).
The Hellenic-American Union hdelivers examination-centered seminars designed for ESL/EFL teachers in an effort to corroborate the preparation procedure for the Michigan University English exams. Upon visiting the site of the HAU, http://www.hau.gr/ one could enroll to the seminars of their interest, either with physical presence or by distant learning.
The most highly pursued seminars are offered free of charge.
The British Council holds seminars and webinars discussing topics that regard the examination procedure and general issues on teaching, learning, grading and assessing L2 learners.
The YouTube Channel of Cambridge Teaching English archives the recorded webinars and presentations, so that interested teachers could attend in their convenience: https://www.youtube.com/user/cambridgeenglishtv/featured.
The above entities and institutions compose the leading forces in EFL education and promotion of teachers’ development.
Furthermore, many established publishing houses hold intriguing and frequently qualitative events and presentations.
As regards distance learning, the ESL/EFL audience is fortunate to have the opportunity to attend courses delivered by eminent universities via the Ed.x: https://www.edx.org/, wherein one could decide and select among a spectrum of fields and courses.
A respectable amount of these courses are free of charge, but there also exists the option being examined on the course and obtain a certificate.
Which is the appropriate time to pursue professional development?
It is a very personal issue to be resolved with a universal response.
Rather, it would suffice to stress that free will, personal discretion, work -family balance are the major defining criteria of the ideal time to start a teacher development course.
Therefore, the time could vary, with someone seizing a gap year, a dry spell in their business or a maternity leave that might feel unproductive in terms of professional development.
Any time is appropriate, though it would be advisable to make provisions and operate proactively as much as possible, i.e. before any decline or corrosion makes its appearance to the quality of teaching and the overall performance.
It is judicious, as the element of obligation and external pressure can deprive the very essence of the educative procedure.
Fields of interest
Some of the topics of examination, fields of study that are on high demand (probably in tandem with societal changes, adjustments new- arising needs) are:
Interactive Teaching Methology, following the necessity to harness and utilize the technology and digital tools by keeping the human-centered approach in teaching.
Teachers’ Training on Dyslexia and ADHD.
The natural adaptation of ESL/EFL teaching to L2 learners with dyslexia, ADHD and the autism spectrum have caught teaching professionals underprepared in terms of knowledge, means and appropriate equipment.
Partly this might be reasoned as a consequence of the terra incognita that learning difficulties comprise even to the clinical and the specialized professionals, coupled with the learning difficulties and cognitive challenges evasive nature.
Teaching and learning in heterogeneous L2 environment.
Communicative Approach to Teaching and Developing L2 Grammar.
Teaching in multicultural L2 environment and integrative approach.
Instead of a conclusive remark, the following disclaimer might turn out to be applicable.
We need to anchor our expectations as regards life-long learning and teacher development.
Conferences, seminars, contributions of academic interest and vocational skills serve towards the end of upgrading theoretical knowledge, implementing university education, enriching perspective and acquiring purposive equipment.
They render no substitute of formal tertiary education, as they are complementary and not supplementary by default.
Upon participating or attending any event of educational content we are responsible to verify its authenticity (both of the event and the organizing body).
The cause of this need is that any incidental attendance of any event of questionable authority might end up being pernicious to both the teachers’ valuable time and effort and their finances. •